I’m sure everyone has heard a variation of this adage. If you ever happen to be amongst a group of people who are being chased down by a deadly bear, you don’t have to outrun the bear. You just have to outrun the slowest person in the group. That is what came to mind as I watched this Heat/Mavericks series develop.
The Heat are an interesting team. They are the biggest bandwagon team in the league. They sell the most jerseys, and yet, they are also cast as the ultimate villain. People have gotten into their heads that Miami is everything that is wrong with professional sports. Personally, I don’t feel that way. I didn’t like anything about how last off-season went down, but my distaste of the Heat isn’t really centered on LeBron James. It’s their fan base, which I consider incredibly undeserving of this team or this title that ultimately ended up in Dallas.
While everyone was hating on Miami, though, there was a complimentary action. The Mavericks became a darling. This is the reaction that makes people wonder, what is so great about Dallas? Why should I root for Dallas? Dirk Nowitzki is suddenly a well-liked superstar? Before this series he had less charisma than foot stool. Jason Kidd? All Mark Cuban does is rub people the wrong way, and we’re supposed to be rooting for this team? The truth is, the Mavericks aren’t a team you’d look at and say, there’s a fan favorite. In this case they were simply the lesser of two evils for a lot of people. They were the 2nd slowest guy running away from the bear. And, that’s all you really need in sports these days.
As I watched the Mavericks win, all I really felt was a sense of relief. I’d equate it to the year the Diamondbacks beat the Yankees in the World Series. That D-Back team was full of mutts. I was no Diamondback fan, but in the situation you do what you have to do. That’s my feeling on the results tonight. I wasn’t happy about it. I just took a little bit of pleasure in knowing Miami didn’t get there this year, and that was important to me for probably an irrational reason. Now, Miami can go ahead and win a title if they want to. As long as it didn’t happen this first year I can live with whatever else happens. You just have to look at all the Mavs fans in the stands to understand my point. I wouldn’t be surprised if next year they start having trouble selling out Heat games. Such is life on South Beach.
I’m not sure what else this championship for the Mavericks means aside from getting Kidd and Dirk off that list. My thoughts a couple of days ago were that a Dallas title would offer some hope for teams who perpetually fall short. The Chargers, for example. Or, the Eagles. Especially teams who commit to one system, or one coach, or one superstar for an extended period of time. Dallas turned things around pretty quickly a decade ago, but they often weren’t a huge factor in a stacked Western Conference. A good team, but not a great one. I’m sure many in Dallas thought they’d go the entire Dirk era without a title. If it didn’t happen this year, that might have been the case. I guess this win speaks to the value of the re-tool. In sports if you have a piece or two, you can always make a move, and things can change quickly if you make the right moves. Dallas pulled the right strings this season. Maybe another beleaguered fan base will be next. Vancouver, anyone?
And, for the Heat, I’m not sure where they’ll go from here. Before this series started most people had conceded the title to them. But, if you remember, before the season started many experts thought the Heat wouldn’t be able to come together in just one season. I’ll say they had that look about them a bit tonight, but do they just need more chemistry, or do they need more balance? Will Spoelstra be gone? You can’t love his chances. And, what about the roster? My selfish dream is for the Heat to trade Chris Bosh in the off-season. That would be almost too perfect, but don’t they have to do something? This Dallas team didn’t strike me as a great team, and Miami couldn’t handle them. With some of the young and upcoming teams out there I’m not sure a little dose of chemistry will be enough to get Miami over the top next season.